By Ali Thompson
At this point, most churches have had to temporarily close their doors and find digital alternatives to meeting in person as the threat of COVID-19 looms around the world. But your preteens haven’t stopped having tough faith questions…in fact, they probably have more. Last night, I led my first virtual BE BOLD class, and I wanted to share some tips.
Use Zoom or Another Video Conference Platform
Of course, you’ll need parents’ permission and you’ll want to make sure they’re the ones you’re communicating with about setting up a video feed. But offering your BE BOLD lesson over a video-chat platform gives preteens the ability to still actively engage in discussions with one another. I set up a Zoom conference call and my group met with me, each in our own homes. We had a blast! We were able to share openly and honestly about some of the ways we’ve been able to do impromptu Mystery Missions by helping people and bringing hope and joy to people in the midst of a scary time.
Which reminds me…invite the parents to join you! You have a unique opportunity in this season to give parents a sneak peek about what happens in your BE BOLD class. That’s a great way to equip them in dealing with their preteens’ tough faith questions.
Check out the Digital Download Center for Extra Resources
Your BE BOLD Teacher Guide came with a code to access your lessons digitally, for free. (Haven’t seen that yet? It’s on the title page, so just flip the cover open and there it is!)
For this season, Group is providing modified BE BOLD lessons in the Digital Download Center (group.com/digital). They’ll be simplified…some of the games might be cut, and the Bold Action may look a little different…but kids will still get to interactively dig into God’s Word to discover how Bold Bible Truths can guide them through their questions.
PLUS, during this time when you can’t meet in person, you’ll also find the Student Book pages in the Digital Download Center. That way if you want kids to be able to refer to them, you can email them out ahead of time.
Let Kids Steer the Conversation
We always want BE BOLD to be a safe place for kids to share their thoughts and struggles, but this is more true now than ever. I led a lesson this week about how we stand up against Satan, and when we talked about how Satan tries to drag us down with worries, the kids shared a number of worries specific to Coronavirus. Know that no matter what your topic is, right now kids are likely to steer it toward Coronavirus—and that’s okay. They need a safe place to express their thoughts and struggles, and what could be better than a BE BOLD class?
Keep It Experiential
Just because you’re not meeting in person doesn’t mean your class has to change to just lecture and discussion. You’ll find the modified lessons in the Digital Download Center still get kids up and moving, making things, or having other experiences using basic household items. Experience cements their discoveries, so it’s important to keep this element of BE BOLD! And, since some basic household items are needed, email out that list ahead of time so parents and preteens will be ready with everything they need. Don’t forget the Bibles!
Expect a Little Chaos
I mean, you’re used to teaching preteens…so this goes without saying, right? But my BE BOLD group was a little extra chaotic as my dog barked throughout my small group. But she had some comedic timing, too…when we were talking about ways you might try to trick or trap an enemy and I suggested sneaking an attack while your enemy is sleeping, my dog pounced on my sleeping cat right next to the camera.
Video conference calls might add an extra dose of chaos, whether it’s dogs trying to participate, microphones or cameras cutting out, younger siblings being loud, or other distractions. That’s okay. If you’re mentally prepared for these extra challenges, you can take them in stride and laugh along with kids at the silliness.
Keep Up With Mystery Missions
I still folded and sealed my Mystery Mission card, then opened it up on camera to keep that sense of mystery. I read the mission, then emailed it out to parents so kids could do their missions. In this time of fear and uncertainty, reaching out and living our faith is extra critical!